About a month ago there was a Groupon for two adult tickets to Zoo Atlanta for the price of one. It was good through the end of this year, so I snatched up one of those bad boys without thinking twice and then said “Hey, Dan! Zoo, yes? P.S. This isn’t exactly a question! LOVE YOU!”
Joshua was slightly nightmarish this weekend. (Three’s not my favorite.) But since the temperature dropped yesterday, we decided it was as good a day as any to attempt what would potentially be a disaster.
Armed with snacks, a stroller, the OnyaBaby, and the camera, we set out, first stopping at Sublime Doughnuts for, well, doughnuts. And then we hit the zoo.
Because it was early, it wasn’t crowded or hot, which was really nice. I highly recommend getting there early if you’re planning a trip. Plus, we were able to park in the zoo’s parking lot (free parking) instead of down the street in an overflow lot and hoofing it in.
The elephants weren’t in their enclosure, which made me sad. I love elephants. I loved the pandas, though. And the gorillas. And many of the animals were sleeping or just sunning themselves. Joshua was only partially amused by the animals (probably because they just stand there and he expects to be entertained) so he was kind of a handful until we got to the KidZone and then he thought the zoo was the greatest place on Earth because there was a bounce house, a carousel, a train, and a playground.
Once we got over the meltdowns and he spent some time in the stroller for running away from us (!!!!!!!!!!), we had a good day.
Yay, Zoo Atlanta!
Now comes the part where I assault you with photo proof of our trip to the zoo. You’ve been warned.
Here’s something I learned about giraffes: Giraffes are pregnant for 17 months. O_O
Gorillas are awesome. See the mom/baby pair in the bottom left? At one point, she wanted to redirect the baby so she just yanked it around by its ear. Which I found fantastic. Not sure what that says about my mothering, but yeah. It was great. And then, of course, babywearing gorillas are always okay by me.
So, funnygross story about this gorilla. While we were watching it sit on this log and stare at the other gorillas, it stood up, defecated into its own hand, and then proceeded to dig through its own poo for things to eat. It’s really no wonder that the other gorillas didn’t invite this one over to play. Manners, gorilla. Manners.
CUTE BABY GORILLA! Not even sure there’s anything else to say. I mean, really. HOW CUTE IS THAT BABY?
I opted for the OnyaBaby carrier yesterday because it was a little more cool and this carrier is a little more wind-blocking than the ring slings. It was fantastic!
Is it just me or do panda bears not seem like REAL BEARS? I mean, sure, they’ll probably maul my face off if I get in the way of their bamboo, but jeez. They look so nice and friendly and cuddly. Not at all like regular bears.
Gratuitous panda picture. BECAUSE THEY ARE SO CUTE.
So this happened once or twice. It was…pleasant. (No, no it was not.) This meltdown in particular came because I gave him Spider-Man graham cookies instead of Spider-Man cheese crackers. I think. It’s so hard being three, y’all. WE DON’T KNOW THEIR LYFE!
And that’s not the reason he cried at all. Joshua–no lie–just looked at this picture and said “Oh no! Was wrong with me!? I didn’t wanna go to the big playground! I wanted the little playground!” And he’s completely right. There was a small play structure next to the bathroom and he did this when he couldn’t play there.
There’s a petting zoo at Zoo Atlanta. Except the only animals in the petting zoo are goats. Which is kind of cool because how often do you get to pet goats unless you live on a farm with goats?
I feel like this goat is smiling at me which is the only reason this picture is here. Doesn’t that goat just look so happy to you?
Emma would like you all to know that she enjoyed her limited view of the zoo very much. The pandas were her favorite. Because I said so.
He didn’t cry the whole time, just so you know. When we got to KidZone, he got pretty happy. He also changed carousel animals three times before the ride started and then refused to let Dan hold on to anything at all. Not sure where he got so bossy. Ahem.
He’s recently become quite the climber and wants to climb on all the things. So he climbed up and down this rope thing about a zillion times. It earned us a nap (eventually, after more tears) so yay rope thing! Also, my kid is beautiful.
And that was our trip to Zoo Atlanta! We can’t wait to go back!
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that yesterday got off to a rough start. I was touched out before 9:00 a.m. thanks to a teething baby who wouldn’t take a nap and a preschooler who wanted ALL THE THINGS. And when I finally got her to sleep and took a shower, Joshua woke her up because he HAD to play blocks when he almost never plays blocks.
(Why do they pick the noisy toys when you need them to be quiet and the quiet toys when it’s okay to be noisy? What kind of law is that, Murphy?)
It was one of those mornings where I wanted to just run away screaming and never look back. At least for a few hours.
So, to get out of the house, we went to Target. At the very least, it would just be a change of scenery. And then, while in a drive-thru picking up lunch, I saw this:
It’s like the Universe knew what I needed to see and showed it to me. Right on time. Like all the “life lessons” the Universe teaches.
I started thinking about all the things in my life for which I am grateful.
My family is healthy. We have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. We both have jobs, one of which allows me to work part-time from home. We have…we have…we have…
It all felt so trite. So Have vs. Have-not. I mean, I’m grateful for all of those things, yes. But if those are the things I’m grateful for, that means I’m grateful for having them because someone else doesn’t have them. Which just made me feel worse instead of better.
So while I waited to place my order and waffled between a cheeseburger or a chicken sandwich, I thought a little harder.
I replayed our trip through Target. I smiled at the conversation I’d had with a former student about the night’s football game and how he was happy for me in my new adventure outside the classroom. I felt the weight of Emma asleep on my chest in the sling. I felt Joshua’s small hand in mine as we walked across the parking lot. I envisioned Emma’s gummy smile. I heard Joshua say “Mama! Wook at dis! I can get dis tomorrow!”
I grew lighter and happier with every image and feeling that flashed across my heart. I’d done it. I’d pushed the reset button on our day. I was grateful for that car and its bumper sticker.
I’m grateful for do-overs.
I’m grateful that even when we have a bad morning, or a bad day, there is grace for better moments.
I realized on Monday that I’m taking the Stay-at-Home part of being a stay at home mom a little too literally. As in I almost never want to leave the house with both kids because I’m almost never presentable and attempting to do so requires me to put on a bra.
But the truth is that kind of blows.
Kids need sunshine and fresh air. I need to force myself to put on real clothes.
Joshua woke up whiny and very, very three this morning. I knew we needed to get out of the house and do something if there was any hope of him taking a nap today, so I decided we’d go to the mall. Emma needs some new pajamas, there’s a play area for Joshua, and a Pottery Barn Kids for me. Win-win, right?
In the back of my mind, I knew that the mall was a very bad idea given his three-ness that morning. I would wear Emma and he would probably lay down in the middle of the mall floor to throw a fit and I’d be THAT MOM with the kid throwing a tantrum and oh my god why can’t she just control her kid. It probably would’ve ended in more tears than just his. In fact, I can all but guarantee it would have.
But off we went anyway. Because I’m stubborn. And nothing if not a little self-loathing.
Joshua, who has no idea what “the mall” really is, was quite clear that we WERE NOT going there. No way, no how. He wanted to go “to another house.”
“But whose house, Joshua?”
“We needa go to another house.”
“What house, Joshua?”
“TO. ANOTHER. HOUSE.”
So not helpful. Also quite frustrating.
So with my sites set on the mall and my car pointed in that direction, I kept driving. And he kept whining that we weren’t going to the mall. So much whining, in fact, that I looked around and realized I was going the wrong way.
Joshua stopped yammering about “another house” for about four seconds and I realized where we were. And a little bit of peace washed over my heart.
There it was.
The really awesome playground.
I pulled into the parking lot and off we went, the three of us. On a grand adventure of rope-ladder climbing, tunnel slides, tire swings, and acorn hunting.
My wrong turn ended up being the right one after all.
Yesterday found me at the end of my rope, dangling over an abyss of sleep deprivation. I sent texts to Dan begging him not to work late. I needed him home. He sent texts back reassuring me that no matter what, we’re in this together.
I went to bed last night when Emma did and, while we did not sleep all night, we slept. Soundly. And then this morning came and brought with it the promise of a new day. A fresh start.
From the moment I woke up this morning, I knew today would be better than yesterday.
I knew I would be better.
Grace had come up with the sun.
It rained this morning and once the shower was over, we got dressed and went outside.
Joshua played in his sand table and pushed his cars around. I nursed Emma and held her as she chattered away. We took a walk and had a picnic.
We laughed. We smiled. We explored.
It was a good day. The kind of day I needed to restore my faith in myself.